August 17, 1996: Mets Beat Padres in Mexico

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Date: August 17, 1996
Mets starter: Mark Clark
Mets: 7
Padres: 3
Winning pitcher: Mark Clark
Key player(s): Bernard Gilkey, Todd Hundley
Key play: Mets' four runs in 3rd

The Mets and Padres faced each other on a Saturday night in Monterrey, Mexico. Due to a scheduling conflict with the Republican National Convention in San Diego, the teams were forced to play south of the American border. After losing the first game of the relocated series (titled La Primera Serie), the Mets drew even with a 7-3 win.

After a scoreless first inning, the Mets took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second. Todd Hundley doubled off Padres' starter Tim Worrell and Andy Tomberlin drew a one-out walk. Edgardo Alfonzo singled to bring home Hundley with the first run of the game. Worrell retired the next two batters and Mark Clark shut down San Diego in the bottom of the inning.

Lance Johnson singled to begin the top of the third. Johnson stole second base and scored on a one-out double by Bernard Gilkey. Hundley followed with a single to bring home Gilkey for the Mets' third run. Carlos Baerga doubled to score Hundley and advanced to third on a single by Tomberlin. Alfonzo was retired on an infield pop-up and Rey Ordonez singled to plate Baerga and make it a 5-0 Mets lead. Worrell then struck out Clark to end the inning.

The Padres loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the third. Clark got Greg Vaughn to hit into a double play for the final outs of the inning. Mark retired Chris Gomez on a double play grounder to end a scoreless fourth. Worrell then shut down the Mets despite singles by Tomberlin and Alfonzo in the top of the fifth inning.

In the bottom of the fifth, Rickey Henderson led off with a pinch-hit single. Henderson stole second and came home on a single by Tony Gwynn. Clark walked Wally Joyner and set down the next three San Diego hitters. Padres' reliever Sean Bergman then pitched a scoreless top of the sixth inning.

In the bottom of the sixth, John Flaherty reached first base on an error by Mets' third baseman Alvaro Espinoza. Craig Shipley flied out to center fielder Johnson and a double by Gomez moved Flaherty to third base. Batting for Bergman, Chris Gwynn grounded out to score Flaherty. Tony Gwynn hit a double to bring home Gomez and make the score 5-3. Mets' reliever Dave Mlicki then retired Joyner on a ground ball to Espinoza to end the inning.

On three consecutive ground balls, San Diego reliever Willie Blair pitched a perfect top of the seventh. Mlicki retired the Padres in order in the bottom half. Blair set down the Mets 1-2-3 again in the top of the eighth. The Padres then failed to score after loading the bases against Doug Henry in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Johnson singled off San Diego's Doug Bochtler to begin the top of the ninth. Lance moved to second base on Espinoza's sacrifice bunt and came around to score on a single by Gilkey. Bochtler issued two walks (one intentional) to load the bases for the Mets. Chris Jones hit into a force play on which pinch-runner Tim Bogar came home. Alfonzo then lined out to right fielder Tony Gwynn for the third out.

Henry shut down the Padres in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Mets had their first victory ever in Mexico. La Primera Serie was even at one game apiece.